Mercy Lovejoy, neighbor to the Washburns, is portrayed by Willi Irish, Norlands’ director of interpretation and training. Mercy will visit Norlands on July 16. Mike Corthell photo

LIVERMORE — Step back into the 19th century at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center. The Norlands is a multi-faceted living history museum and farm offering in-depth experiences in 19th-century rural Maine life. It is also the ancestral home of Livermore’s Washburn family, whose sons rose from humble beginnings to achieve remarkable political and entrepreneurial successes across the nation.

In July and August, Norlands is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Tour the 1867 Washburn family mansion, farmer’s cottage and barn. Attend school in the one-room schoolhouse.

Interpreters, dressed in period clothing, portray a local person, someone who might have been seen at Norlands in the 1800s. Be a scholar of 1853 in the schoolhouse. The school master will encourage practicing reading, writing and ‘rithmetic in the District 7 schoolhouse.

Walk through the mansion with a guide, portraying a Washburn grandchild or neighbor, and hear all about the famous family. Visit the farmer’s cottage to meet one of the Washburn neighbors who will show life on the farm. Perhaps help piece a quilt square or play a mystery artifact game.

Arrive by 1 p.m. to see the full site, including a visit to the Washburn library and the 1828 meeting house, the oldest building still on the site.

Additional programming is offered on Thursdays throughout the summer. On Thursday, July 16, the town pauper, “Mercy Lovejoy,” visits at 12:30 p.m. Mercy, as portrayed by Willi Irish, Norlands’ director of interpretation and training, will share humorous stories about life on the town, gossip about the neighbors and provide a glimpse of how people cared for the poor and elderly in the 1800s.

On Thursday, July 25, Antoinette Fuller, portrayed by Norlands’ board member Carolyn Lawson, will make cheese and butter in the farmer’s cottage. Visitors can learn about the process and perhaps lend a hand. Oftentimes, farm women in the 1800s made cheese and butter to not only feed their families, but also to sell and trade for other goods. Visit Norlands’ website www.norlands.org for the full Thursday program schedule.

Hiram Briggs, superintendent of schools, portrayed by Larry Whittington, is one of the people folks will meet on a living history tour of the Norlands.

Round out a visit with a stroll on a historic carriage trail. A short walk goes to the Pools of Simeon, reflecting pools designed by William Drew Washburn in 1903. Another trail leads to the Overlook, where on a clear day Mt. Washington may be seen. Maps are available in the gift shop. Bring a lunch. Picnic tables are available.

Admission is $10 aperson; $8, Norlands members; $6 ($4), age 12 and under; $25 ($20), family rate for two adults with two or more children under the age of 18 in same household. Members of Norlands  receive a 20% discount on admission and a 10% discount in the gift shop.

Norlands is at 290 Norlands Road. For more information, visit www.norlands.org or call 207-897-4366.


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